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in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart !" How few ever think of aiming to fulfil the commandment of our Saviour, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect!" Matt. 6. 48. As if it were not our gain to be as obedient as possible to the will of God, as nearly conformed as possible to the image of our blessed Lord! As if He would have given us any commandment, which it is not good for us to endeavour to fulfil! Let us then set before us no less an object than this, to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord, with a perfect heart. Let us harbour no reserve, in the fulness of our purpose, to serve God in all that we know to be his will, and to use all means in our power to know it more thoroughly, and to fulfil it more devotedly.

We see proof of the divided state of Amaziah's heart, in his being disposed to trust in the numbers of his army rather than in the protection of the Lord. When about to engage in war, he first numbered his own people that were able to bear arms, and he next hired "an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver." He must have known how sinful this act of numbering the people was esteemed in the case of David. And as to hiring the men of Israel for allies, he ought to have remembered, that all alliance was unlawful for the servants of Jehovah with the worshippers of images. On this latter point he was expressly warned by a man of God, that however strong he might make himself for battle by this help, yet God would make him fall before the enemy, for this reason, namely, that the Lord was not with Israel. He acted on this warning, and so far he did right in the sight of the Lord. But he grudged the loss of the hundred talents, which he had given to the men of Israel for their hire. Upon which the man of God assured him, "The Lord is able to give thee much more than this." Accordingly the Lord gave him victory. And whilst the Israelites, in whom he had sought for strength, were spoiling his cities in revenge for their dismissal, his own people, whom he appears to have distrusted, were completely successful in the battle with the Edomites. Let us be reminded by this instance, that "God hath power to help, and to cast down." Let us learn to depend on his assistance, yea, to put our whole trust in it, whatever dangers beset us, temporal or spiritual. And whilst we fail not to do for our own parts whatsoever is required by prudence, and courage, and perseverance, let us rest our whole confidence all the while, not in that which we do ourselves, but in that which we trust God is doing for us.

Help us, O Lord, with thy almighty power; and grant that we may put our trust in thy all sufficient help, through Christ our Lord.

Amaziah's defeat and death.

14 Now it came to pass, after thou, and Judah with thee? that Amaziah was come from 20 But Amaziah would not the slaughter of the Edomites, hear; for it came of God, that that he brought the gods of the he might deliver them into the children of Seir, and set them hand of their enemies, because up to be his gods, and bowed they sought after the gods of down himself before them, and Edom. burned incense unto them. 15 Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?

16 And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.

17 Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face.

18 And Joash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.

19 Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast: abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even

21 So Joash the king of Israel went up; and they saw one another in the face, both he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah.

22 And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent.

23 And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.

24 And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obed-edom, and the treasures of the king's house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria.

25 And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.

26 Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel?

27 Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a

conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after

him, and slew him there.

horses, and buried him with his

28 And they brought him upon fathers in the city of Judah.


The infatuation of sinners.

That any human being should bow down to idols, seems most inconsistent with the reason which God has given us. But that one who had so lately experienced the proof of God's power, as Amaziah had, should set up the gods of the children of Seir to be his gods, and that he should persevere in doing so, after being reminded by a prophet, that they could not deliver their own people out of his hand; this appears little short of madness. But no; reason, such as we have it in our fallen state, is compatible with the vanity of our preferring to be the authors of every thing to ourselves. And hence men, who must be allowed to have been in their senses, chose to worship gods of their own devising, rather than bow down to Him who made both them and all things. In like manner, there are many now amongst ourselves, who whilst they see the absurdity of idol worship, and own that there is but one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, will not serve Him in the way of his own appointment, or in the way appointed by authority from Him; but delight in setting up a religion for themselves; and think no ministers so acceptable, no ordinances so profitable, as those which are only sanctioned by their own choice and authority.

But the true God soon made manifest his truth in the defeat of Amaziah, as He had before done in giving him the victory. The presumptuous challenge sent to Joash king of Israel, ended in the entire overthrow of the armies of Judah. And the rashness of Amaziah, who persisted in provoking Joash to the battle, was overruled by God, to the chastisement of Judah and their king; "that he might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom." This helps further to explain many an act of folly or of wickedness, which may at first sight seem unaccountable in a reasonable creature. Though God has made us free to act according to our choice, He is able, if He so think fit, to make our choice the means of chastisement for sin. He can so order the temptations set before the wicked, or so infatuate their minds at the moment of their choosing, that they obstinately prefer the evil to the good, and take the way that leads to ruin, instead of that which would admit them to eternal happiness. But for such infatuation, judicially inflicted by the righteous Ruler of the universe, the folly of the wicked would indeed be utterly inexplicable. For what rashness of Amaziah can be more manifest, what idolatry of Judah more gross, than that which we daily see around us, in those, who knowing both the mercies and the terrors of the Lord, give all their thoughts to the pleasures of the world?

Uzziah reigneth. His presumption; and his leprosy. 1 Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.

2 He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.

3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 4 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.

5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

6 And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.

7 And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gur-baal, and the Mehunims.

8 And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.

9 Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.

10 Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in

the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.

11 Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king's captains.

12 The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.

13 And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.

14 And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.

15 And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.

16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.

17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:

18 And they withstood Uzziah

the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.

19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense; and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.

him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.

21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.

22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.

23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reign

20 And Azariah the chief priest,
and all the priests, looked upon
him, and, behold, he was leprous
in his forehead, and they thrust ed in his stead.


A warning against being elated by prosperity.


Uzziah, like his father, began well, and prospered greatly as long as he served God truly. He was victorious in war. He was eminent in promoting the more useful arts of peace. And during the time of peace, he was diligent in strengthening his kingdom for future warfare. "But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction." Not content with his authority as head of the church in temporal matters, he was bent upon ministering in holy things. He went into the temple of the Lord, to burn incense upon the altar of incense." The firm opposition of the priests, instead of moving him from this presumptuous purpose, only served to provoke his wrath. And thereupon God Himself avenged his own insulted majesty; and while the king stood with the censer in his hand, and with anger raging in his heart, behold "the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar." So ended all his glory, all his might. Cut off at once from the pursuits of war and of peace, shut out alike from the throne and from the temple, he "dwelt in a several house, being a leper;" whilst "Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land." What a warning to them that are mighty and renowned, against being elated to their destruction! What a profitable lesson for all men, to be content with their proper place, and to be diligent in their proper duties, never meddling with matters that do not belong to them, least of all presuming, without due authority, to minister in holy things!

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